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May 13, 2017

Ryan Blaney

Brad Keselowski

Kansas City, Kansas

THE MODERATOR: We will go ahead and start our post‑race media availability tore tonight's go bowling 400 here at Kansas Speedway, and we are joined by tonight's runner up, Brad Keselowski, driver of the No.2 Elite Support Ford for Team Penske. Brad, it was a wild race out there tonight and a wild final restart. You were able to make a lot of moves to get up there into a second‑place finish. Would you please walk us through that final restart and how you were able to bring that home.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, so much happened, I'm not sure I even know. But we were really good all day and just never had a chance to show it. Every time we started to pass cars and cycle up to the front, we had some kind of issue, which was a real bummer to not be able to showcase the strength that we had. Towards the end we were able to get some runs and make the most of it, and I think we went from probably 20th with 100 to go to second, which was a pretty big climb in the sport. That's something to be proud of, but I kind of feel like I would have liked to have seen if it would have just played out normal, and I think we might have had a shot at him.

Q. Brad, when there's an incident like the one with about 67 miles to go and you're red flagged, how hard is it to concentrate when you know kind of the danger of the sport kind of thrown in your face like that?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, it's not a good thing, but I mean, it kind of feels a little selfish about how hard it is for me to concentrate when somebody else is hurt. It's not a good situation. I don't know the specifics of what's going on or the severity of injuries. I guess maybe you guys can probably articulate that a little bit better, but hopefully everyone is okay, and my ability to recover from that is not really a story in my mind.

Q. As a driver, as an owner, as a fan of the sport, your family is all about the sport, how do you compartmentalize and just what goes into your mind when these things do happen?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, I mean, it's a dangerous sport. Always has been, always will be. Sometimes we forget that and maybe take for granted that you see real hard hits and people walk away, and then you see one where someone doesn't, and it puts things back into perspective just how dangerous it can be.

Q. You were second in California, fought back like that. Now you did it at Kansas here. I know 11 races in, it's really early to talk about the championship, but in the grand scheme of things, do you take a second place like here and there and look at it as more rewarding than a typical second place because of what you had to fight through?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, probably before the stages came in, yes. Now, no. You know, we finished second here two or three weeks, and last week we finished seventh and lost points all three weeks because of the stages. You have to run up front. You have to get through the early and middle part of the race without having issues or you lose points, so that's one of the beauties of this format is you can't just kind of buzzard‑pick at the end. So we still lost points today, which is a bummer, considering that we finished second, and I think fifth or sixth in one of those stages. But that just shows how tough the competition is and how important the stages are.
THE MODERATOR: Brad, congratulations on the finish tonight and good luck in the All‑Star Race next week.
We're going to continue on with tonight's post‑race media availability for the GoBowling 400, and we are joined by Ryan Blaney, driver of the No.21 Motorcraft Quicklane Tire and Auto Center Ford for Wood Brothers Racing. Ryan, not the finish that you wanted tonight, but still a heck of a run out there. Would you please walk us through how your race went?
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, I thought we made a lot of changes throughout the race, and we were really loose most of the race, and getting worse and worse as the run went on, and 78 and a couple cars seemed to be better than us later in runs, but I felt like we were the best car from maybe 15, 20 laps, especially if we were out front, and we got that caution at the end and beat the 78 off pit road, and I thought we were in a pretty good spot, and he made a really good move on that restart and was able to pass us, and then we had a couple more opportunities towards the end of that race, and he got a couple really good restarts and I didn't, and that was kind of the deciding factor.
I don't know if I could have held him off even though I was really free the last two runs for some reason. I don't know if the truck swung or we tried to make it take off a little bit faster and that hurt it. But a good showing, going out there and leading laps and running with some really good cars. That's where this team deserves to be, and that's where they hopefully will stay, so we keep bringing fast cars to the racetrack like that, you never know when maybe one might fall our way.

Q. When you get I think there was a caution and then another quick caution there, but when you're restarting with two laps, did you kind of know if we don't get out in front of Martin, we're probably not going to be able to run him down with just two laps left?
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, it's whoever is in the lead off of 2 pretty much, and unfortunately he was in the lead into 1, and we never even had a shot to race him through 2. I felt like if we could have‑‑ our only shot was maybe be door‑to‑door with him through 1 and 2 and try to get him loose, and if we cleared him, you never know. He was pretty good. But it was really whoever got in front and got the lead at that point, and he was really fast in that little final stage. That was the deciding factor for sure.

Q. You started off with some really good finishes this season. The last three weeks have been terrible. What does this do for you today going into a couple big weeks in Charlotte to have this finish?
RYAN BLANEY: Yes, it's really just nice to be back on track to be honest with you. The last three races have been really, really bad, and it's just an extra kind of slap to the face that we've had really fast cars in all those races we had troubles in, and we shouldn't have finished 35th. We should have had top 10s in all of them. So it was nice to show our muscle this weekend and prove that, like I said, this is where the 21 team deserves to be, so it's just nice to get back on track.
Going to a few racetracks that are pretty good for us, Charlotte and then we'll keep moving on. It's nice to have a good run today. Yeah, of course we wanted to win, but at the same time, you look at the gains we made all weekend and really being fast all weekend, that puts us back to where we need to be for sure.

Q. When the race is red flagged and you saw replays while you were waiting, what are your thoughts, and what goes through your mind when you've got to ref it up again?
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, you definitely wish the best for Aric. You never want to see a competitor, someone you're with every single weekend get hurt doing what they love. Hopefully he gets better and heals up in time. I don't know a ton of details about it right now. I know very little. But as a driver watching that, this sport, like Brad said, is dangerous. NASCAR has made a really good safety improvements over the past 10, 15 years, and they're always improving, so they'll look at that incident and see what they can do better to prevent that from happening ever again. You definitely don't want to see that as a driver, but you just hope that that certain person, in this case Aric, is going to heal up well, and hopefully he can be at the racetrack next week.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, thanks for joining us tonight. Good luck the next two weeks in Charlotte.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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